With another win under our belt, the Cyclone football team took another positive step forward against Army last week. It is time to give out a few game balls for outstanding performances during the game.
I wouldn’t normally start with the special teams, but this week I really thought their collective play made a huge impact on the outcome of the game. Let’s start with Grant Mahoney and his 50 yard field goal in the first quarter! I can tell you that I wasn’t the only Cyclone fan in the stadium that was a little nervous about that attempt; But Grant didn’t miss a beat and he put it right through the uprights with a lot of room to spare. That field goal really kept the momentum going in the first quarter!
Cyclone punter, Michael Brandtner also made a big impact, averaging 47.8 yards per punt. The consistency in his punting last Saturday ensured that Army would have poor starting field position on almost every possession. With our defense playing so well, it was difficult for Army’s offense to put together sustained drives that would allow them to put points on the board!
Finally, I want to hand out game balls to the kick coverage teams! The kick coverage teams did an excellent job on both the punt and kick-off coverage! They did not have any major break downs that would have resulted in poor starting field position for the defense!
Defensive Front Seven
The defensive line and linebackers had an outstanding game. They played under control and knew their assignments extremely well! The one thing that can hurt a defense against an option team is a player missing an assignment. The defense did not have any mental break downs that would have allowed Army to get big plays against them. They also did an outstanding job of staying in their rush lanes and being physical on the line of scrimmage.
The defensive unit was also very successful in stopping Army on 3rd downs. Army was 3 for 16 on 3rd downs; this allowed the defense to get off the field and give the offense a chance to put some points on the board. If they can continue this defensive intensity this week, we have a good chance of taking a “W” out of Kansas City.
The Big Ugly’s
I received a message from Reggie Stephens (starting center for the Cyclones) asking me when I was going to mention the offensive line. It is not very often that the offensive line receives any mention, but I think it‘s time that we start recognizing how talented this group is and how well they are playing together. In the first four games of the year, the Cyclone offense is averaging over 200 yards on the ground. This would not be possible if the offensive line were not opening up running lanes and giving both A Rob and Austen the opportunity for some big gains. If we are able to continue to keep the consistency of the ground game going, it will definitely lead to more opportunities to gain yards through the air. In addition, their pass blocking has been outstanding allowing Austen time to throw in the pocket. In our last game against Army, the offensive line did not give up one sack to a tough Army defense front.
This update would not be complete without mentioning the outstanding game that A Rob had against Army. With 127 rushing yards, 51 receiving yards, and three touchdowns, A Rob definitely showed why he deserved to be named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. Hopefully the injury he sustained in the second half is not too serious and we can get him healthy for the start of the Big 12 schedule.
Keys to Victory against Kansas State
Here are my keys to victory this week for the Cyclones:
1) Win the turnover battle!
2) Austen, don’t force the ball into tough coverage! Either tuck the ball and run; or find your favorite Cyclone fan in the stands and pass them a souvenir football! Don’t try and make the impossible throw; just be smart with the football.
3) Defense; keep that intensity that you showed last week!
4) Jack Trice South – we need all Iowa State Fans to show up to cheer on the Cyclones this week! It is great to see the enthusiasm and excitement at Jack Trice Stadium. For at least one day, let’s turn Arrowhead into Jack Trice South.
Well, that is it for this week! Up next a breakdown of the Kansas State game!